A GDF Community Partnership has launched in Allerdale to broaden discussions around geological disposal.
The Community Partnership will be a larger group of local people and organisations that will supersede the Working Group to consider the possibilities of Allerdale hosting a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) in more detail. The group will broaden engagement with the public and work to create a vision for long-term community well-being. This will run in parallel to work carried out by the developer, Radioactive Waste Management, to better understand the suitability of local geology and infrastructure.
The move comes after Allerdale Borough Council made the decision to join the ‘Allerdale GDF Community Partnership’ at the meeting of the council’s Executive on Wednesday 24th November, on the condition that the Solway Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) is excluded from the Search Area. The Lake District National Park is also excluded.
A GDF is an underground facility designed to safely and securely dispose of higher activity radioactive waste and has the potential to bring significant additional investment and long-term benefits for future generations, including jobs and skills.
Formation of the Community Partnership follows the recommendation by the Allerdale GDF Working Group of a Search Area that incorporates 13 electoral wards, namely; Aspatria; Broughton St Bridgets; Dalton; Ellen & Gilcrux; Flimby; Harrington & Salterbeck; Maryport North; Maryport South; Moorclose & Moss Bay; Seaton & Northside; St John’s; St Michael’s and Stainburn & Clifton.
The launch of the Community Partnership means that £1m a year in community investment funding is now available to support local initiatives that provide economic development opportunities, enhance the natural and built environment, or improve community wellbeing. This will rise to £2.5m per year if deep borehole investigations to assess geology take place and the fund is immediately open for applications via the website here.
The Interim Chair of the Allerdale GDF Community Partnership, Mary Bradley, said: “As Interim Chair, I’ll be here for the first few months to help establish the Community Partnership and continue the conversation with the community.
“It’s really important that residents in the Search Area understand that they have the final say on whether or not they want a Geological Disposal Facility, and the Community Partnership exists to make sure that all voices are heard.
“We’ll now start to plan a programme of activities, offer guidance on the community investment funding and share information about GDF as we continue to explore the subject with the public.
I look forward to meeting local people and listening to their views, and in the meantime, I encourage anyone with questions or comments to get in touch.”
Alongside Mary Bradley as Interim Chair, initial members of the Community Partnership include representatives from Allerdale Borough Council, Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) Radioactive Waste Management (the developer), Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Inspira.
Construction of a GDF requires both a suitable site and a willing community. Finding the right site to build a GDF could take 10-15 years, but if a suitable site is found in Allerdale, a Test of Public Support will be required to give a direct say to those living in effected wards. Without public support the project will not go ahead.
Please look around this Allerdale GDF Community Partnership website for further information including details of how to apply for Community Investment Funding.